Q: When is Banter not Banter – A: Nearly Always!

English voiceover actor - Tim Lane

Having just returned from two weeks in Canada – more of that in future blogs – it was a pleasure to return to Sunday newspaper mode yesterday and ‘Tom Chivers – And Another Thing’ in The Sunday Telegraph. Tom’s article referred to ‘a bit of banter that went too far’ according to Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. I won’t go into details, but is struck a mightily load chord with me. The Oxford Dictionary describes banter as ‘humerous ridicule – make good-humoured fun of – jest’; pretty harmless stuff, in other words, but Tom Chivers noted – and I have no hesitaion in quoting him – that in his view ‘banter is the worst thing in the universe, a sort of cheap imitation of wit for stupid people’ ‘Hey! You’re fat and stupid and ugly! What’s the matter mate? Just a bit of banter’. Tom went further – citing football crowds and the giving of ‘stick’ – banter’s load-mouthed cousin – which is something I hear at every one of the several dozen live professional matches I watch each season. Tom Chivers closed with ‘It’s not only banter any more, it is a threat to civilisation. Right-thinking people of Britain, it is time to take a stand’. Well said, Tom Chivers! You have my unmitigated support for your campaign.